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Striking not the answer

Trade unions not in agreement with political scientist’s remarks

The umbrella trade union body and the island’s largest public sector bargaining agent have slammed political scientist Dr Tennyson Joseph for accusing the local movement of being in bed with the Freundel Stuart administration.

Political Scientist Tennyson Joseph

Political Scientist Tennyson Joseph

Joseph, who is Head of the Faculty of Government, Sociology and Social Work at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, charged that union leaders were taking their strike weapon off the table, standing passively on the sidelines while thousands of public workers are going home, and doing a poor job of standing up for the workers.

But general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, Dennis Clarke, said Joseph’s comments reflected a lack of common sense.

NUPW general secretary Dennis Clarke.

NUPW general secretary Dennis Clarke.

“[Because] when the IMF set a programme, striking, going home, rioting, does not change the programme. Tell him he’s supposed to be a researcher and look into what happened in Santo Domingo and those places back in the 1990s and prior; and that is why the IMF sat down with the trade unions in Barbados . . . for the first time they ever sat with a trade union movement to involve them in the discussions, because they didn’t want the same thing to happen in Barbados,” Clarke declared.

“So he talking nonsense, because they [IMF] do not change their programme. So what he expects the union to do? Carry people out there to strike, for what?” the NUPW boss asked.

“If he wants a government, tell he go and get a party, and see if he can unseat the Government through the ballot box . . . .The IMF and the Government came to an arrangement, not the union. So what can the union do with that arrangement?” the veteran union leader
queried rhetorically.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), Dennis DePeiza, told the political scientist he should provide the proof to back up his accusations that the movement was in bed with the Government.

“I have no evidence that supports such [accusations against leaders],” he asserted.

Neither general secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Sir Roy Trotman, nor his deputy Toni Moore could be reached for comment.

Joseph is also claiming that union leaders failed to show any solidarity with temporary workers who recently went home. He is of the view, that more and more workers will begin standing up for themselves, similar to what was done last week by employees of the United Commercial Autowork Limited. And he feels other workers will opt to go the legal route, rather than through the unions to settle disputes with their employers.

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